Yesterday morning saw me carrying out a recycling survey in Kirkwall, with the help of a colleague. Not for us the dusty analysis of dry statistics, but the 'boots on the ground' collection of raw figures. Think of it as the opened-baked-bean-tin cutting edge of environmental data. This is possibly as exciting as my life can be at the moment! Yes, really! A heady concoction of plastic, glass, paper and cans, amidst some adrenalin-fuelled data-gathering, brought on by the critical nature of the timing of the survey.
This is because if we're too early, it's not light enough to see, or perhaps folk haven't yet put their bins out for collection. But then again, if we're too late, the local council will have been around and whipped all the data away in their big orange recycling lorry.
Fortunately, our timing was perfect. As we were about a quarter of the way around the survey area, the bin lorry appeared and followed a similar route to us, so we were able to maintain a healthy gap between our data gathering and their recycling collection.
After that, I gave my colleague a lift across town to pick up an undelivered parcel from a courier's office, which was located in an industrial estate. This meant a little guesswork on our part as to where to go. Our first attempt was down the wrong road and we ended up in a cul-de-sac at the Orkney Cheese factory. As I hadn't previously known where this was, I mused that the trip had turned into a fromage of discovery. Second time lucky, we found the correct street and retrieved the parcel.
During the survey, I had also discovered a wallet in the pocket of the waterproof I was wearing. The wallet belonged to another colleague who had borrowed the coat the weekend before, so being the good Samaritan that I am, I dropped it off at his address as I left town.
This good deed was rewarded with some amazingly quick karma, because as I drove passed the airport, a male Hen Harrier flew along the road beside me. A grand view of a grand bird.